Doing Dallas: Saturday Night Lights

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Apparently, in Texas, it’s a cardinal sin to not eat, sleep, live, and breathe football. Confession: I am guilty of this sin. What can I say? I grew up in a household where baseball was the main sport of focus. My dad promised my brother and me the “largest milkshake McDonald’s could make” if the Cleveland Indians ever won the World Series. My loyalties have a habit of following my sweet tooth, so it’s obvious where I threw my support. On a side note, I am still waiting for that milkshake; come on Cleveland, give me something to work with. In high school, football wasn’t really a thing either. My football team (go Cavs!) won only a SINGLE game during my four years there, and that was the result of a forfeit. I don’t know about you, but a 40-game losing streak doesn’t ever really get me riled up about a sport. Cut to college, where I am #blessed with a team that is still waitin’ on a sunny day.

As a result, I have never stayed for an entire football game during my four years of college. Or even made it to halftime, for that matter. I’d walk into the stands, take a picture or two to prove that I was there, and then peace out. Saturday night, though, was the last home football game of my undergraduate career, and I decided, for sentimentality’s sake, to give the whole football thing a try. Here are the three life lessons this experience taught me.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Football game or arctic tundra?

My go-to, “Oh I Can’t Make It to the Game,” excuse had always been that it was too hot. I could always rely on this excuse because it’s Texas – when is it not hot? “I’ll go when it gets cooler, you know, actual football weather.”*

It was so cold that ICE formed on the outside of my cup. ICE.

Well, temperatures plummeted on Saturday to ungodly lows. Seriously. I think I left a tiny, frozen piece of me stuck to one of the stadium bleachers. The cold, misty rain that fell from the sky all night really helped make the experience more bearable. Wearing earmuffs, mittens, two pairs of pants, an undershirt, a sweater, a sweatshirt, a scarf, and a wool coat, I think I resembled more of a padded-up football player than even some of the guys on the field.

*Clarification: I just said this to appear knowledgeable about the sport. In reality, I have no clue what prime football watching weather actually is. My ideal watching situation involves sitting on a couch inside somewhere, eating taquitos, and watching something on TV that is not football.

Knowledge is Power

Just because I don’t watch football doesn’t mean I don’t understand it. Well, that’s not entirely true. I understand the general objective of the game, I just don’t have all the terminology to express this understanding. As I found out Saturday night, trying to make sense of the game in laymen’s terms is not always well received by those sitting around you.

See, basically I was trying to explain to my roommate that USF was about to score on our team. “They just have one place to go until they get the point!” I said. “They cannot get that space! We have to win tonight!”

It seems abundantly clear to me that I’m quite obviously saying USF had just five yards to go until a touchdown. My roommate understood me loud and clear. Those around me, however, stared at me as if I’d just shouted a stream of expletives.

“It’s five yards until the end zone,” said a football die-hard, clearly happy to dole out un-requested knowledge. “And if they score, they get six points. Then they can kick an extra point or try for a two-point conversion.”

Hadn’t I just expressed that, but in a shorter, faster way? In the time it took for this fan to “explain” to me what I already (mostly) knew, USF could’ve scored a million touchdowns. Moral of the story: apparently in Texas, football fans get offended by the use of unofficial terminology.

Quit While You’re Ahead

Snapchat photoshoots took priority over watching football.

I tried. I really really tried to be involved in the game. But it was much more interesting to take a Snapchat photoshoot or to go buy hot chocolate or to tweet about being at the game rather than actually watching the game. We made it through the halftime show, but having withstood frostbite-worthy conditions for the past four hours – tailgating takes a lot of time and energy – we decided to call it a night. Conveniently, SMU was up 13-0 when we left. It was only hours later, as we were sitting in a restaurant eating gloriously warm queso, that we learned SMU lost IN THE LAST FOUR SECONDS OF THE GAME. How is that even possible?! They let USF get a touchdown in the last. four. seconds. Four seconds is NOTHING; heck, I could walk on hot coals for four seconds and be fine. (Probably not, but I’m trying to make a point here.)

Fortunately, having quit while we were ahead, my roommates and I had the comfort of heat and queso to soften the blow, otherwise, who knows what we might have done.

Summing it Up

I’ve always said that the day pigs fly would be the day you’d see Chelsea Grogan at a football game. But you know what? I learned some new terminology during the game, and apparently “pigskin” is another word for “football.” So Saturday night, pigs flew and I went to a football game. I may not have witnessed the entire game, but by golly, that is just something to look forward to for SMU Homecoming next year. What is life without goals?! And maybe, by that time, I’ll have brushed up on football terminology and our team will actually be on a winning streak. I mean, anything could happen when pigs fly, amiright?


Chelsea is a Level 5 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!